Panelle (Sicilian chickpea fritters).
Griddle-fired sardines with Sicilian winter citrus salad, shaved fennel, crushed olive-pistachio vinaigrette.
Grilled mackerel in scapece with cauliflower, cured lemons, pesto pantesco (Pantelleria’s tomato and basil relish for fish).
Grilled pork meatballs. I believe that chef Steve Samson’s extraordinary talent in all things pork-related is owed to his Bolognese origins (he and I have been friends for more than 20 years, stretching back to our college days in Italy).
This was one Tracie P’s favorites and mine, too. Ciceri e Tria, chick peas and long noodles, a classic dish of Apulia. Chef Zach strays from tradition here by deliciously folding in baccalà, adding another layer of flavor and texture.
Squid ink (long-noodle) fusilli with pistachios, bottarga, and mint. This dish is a true show stopper. Extremely difficult to photograph well and utterly delectable.
One of my privileges as wine director is that I get to put some of my favorite wines on the list! The 2006 skin-contact, wild fermented, unfiltered, and impeccably Natural 100% Vermentino by Dettori continues to “astound” me (to borrow Saignée’s tasting note). Alessandro Dettori wrote me earlier this year explaining that one of the things that makes this vintage stand out is the fact that he chose not to destem and he macerated for two days with the stems as well as the skins. The wine is gorgeously fresh and bright and its balance of fruit and minerality is stunning. And… It makes you poop good the next day… No joke… I LOVE LOVE LOVE this wine.
Devil’s Gulch fennel-crusted pork porterhouse with green tomato mostarda.
Are those some good-looking cannoli or what???!!!
In case you haven’t heard, I curate the list at Sotto and work the floor there a few nights each month. The list is devoted exclusively to southern Italian wine, with a short appendix of rigorously Natural California producers (chemical-free farming, wild fermentation). My next visit is scheduled for June 21 and 22. Hope to see you there!